Summary: Each of us is called to ipact our own generation and those who come behind us, for the Lord's Kingdom.
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
“Remind me of this with every decision
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know.”
-Sara Groves (Generations: 1999 Sara Groves Music)
Jeremiah 1: 1-10 (The call of the prophet)
• He was around age 20 when God commissioned him in about 629 BC. He began to faithfully declare the Lord’s accurate words, though there was always much serious opposition.
• Jeremiah came by his devotion to God through the steady, godly life of his Father, faithful priest of God, Hilkiah. He lived in the town of Anathoth, about three miles North West of Jerusalem, and it is there that Jeremiah was a boy.
• Forty one years after his call, he wrote the Lamentations, in which he mourned for all that had been lost in Judah during his lifetime.
• He never deviated from accurately passing on all that God was saying, which was always exactly in line with what God had written through Moses.
• He experienced heart ache in huge helpings.
• He was rejected, disbelieved, and persecuted.
• Sometimes kings would actually listen to him and heed what he said, but not very often.
• He saw his beloved Jerusalem and all of Judah ravaged and turned into a mere province of the Babylonian empire. (Read Lamentations 1:1)
• He often wept, but he never turned away from doing God’s will in a hostile environment.
• In his older years, he was personally treated much better, particularly by the king of Babylon, but he could not be consoled over what had befallen the stubborn and hard hearted Jews, in his day.
It would be easy to assume that this was a failed ministry. In reality it was anything but. The truth is, the faithful godly ministry of Jeremiah played a very large role in producing the character of the prophet Daniel.
Daniel was taken into captivity with the first large wave of the captives in about 607 BC. He was about 15 at the time. He was born almost exactly 27 years after Jeremiah. When I turned 27, I had two children ages 4 ½ and almost 3. I had another child in the future. Jeremiah and Daniel were born exactly a generation apart.
• Throughout the years of captivity, Daniel stood firm in obeying the commands of God.
• He, together with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stood firm for the dietary requirements of the Law of God as teens who had been taken away from everything they knew; their parents, their city, and their culture. So deep was their belief in God’s word, that nothing could shake it. Even when the Babylonians’ rulers gave them new names to honor Babylonian gods, they still obeyed God totally. Being called Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t stop those four from honoring the one true God.
• In chapter 9 of Daniel, we are told that at the end of the seventy years of captivity, the 85 year old Daniel was reading the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah and realized, from chapter 25 of Jeremiah, that it was time for the captivity to end. The godly, faithful work and example of Jeremiah, informed and guided Daniel throughout his entire lifetime!
Some Observations and Applications:
• Hilkiah had a son, He trained him to love and respect God and God’s word. Therefore, Jeremiah, his son, was fit for the Lord to call as a prophet to the nation, and Jeremiah’s ministry echoes even down to our times.
• Parents and grandparents; I ask you today, are you being a Hilkiah. Are you being careful to train your children and your grandchildren in God’s ways and in God’s words? Are you walking out your life before them in such a way that they can clearly see His presence and His priority in your life, and the difference that makes?
• Jeremiah never had children. But he ministered to the nation of Judah. He was a Father in Israel because he consistently walked out a complete commitment to God and to God’s words to us. Although most rejected his godly counsel, he bore many spiritual children, including Daniel and his friends, who were the standard bearers of God’s ways, for the next generation after him.
More Observations and Applications
• To every older adult whose children are long gone from home, and to every Christian believer who is present today who has no natural children of your own, I say to look at the effect that Jeremiah had on Daniel.
• Your life, lived with the powerful presence of the Lord, big in it, will impact those who come behind you. Your life lived in the belief that you don’t matter much, will not have much of an impact. You may be a young adult of 18 or 20 today. So was Jeremiah. You may be a teen today. So were Daniel and his friends when they took a stand for God’s laws. They even impacted the king’s advisors who were a generation older than they were!